Chances are you’ve asked yourself this question at some point. It’s human nature to have self-doubt. In fact, it’s second nature for lots of us.
Working with college students and being a dad, I sometimes find myself asking this very question: Does what I do really make a difference? While it’s usually in a time of frustration or extreme sleep deprivation, it’s still a little seed that grows bigger and more bothersome if left unchecked.
We tend to go through seasons of our lives that have little ups and downs where we second guess who we are, our gifts and abilities, and honestly, whether or not anything we do is truly making an impact. Of all the effort and time I put into investing in others, am I being heard? Is it sinking in? Am I just talking to a wall? Or just spitting into the wind? Sometimes it’s just hard to tell.
And to be honest, some college students, and on the very rarest of occasions even my kids, make me want to bang my head into a wall. Many young people walk through life expecting rather than earning. You see, you can have a hard work ethic, but still be lost. You can be accomplished, but still need help. You can have vision, but still not see the trees from the forest, or even your hand in front of your face.
In my field, we call the negative things you say to yourself “negative self-talk.” It’s when we let our situation dictate how we feel, our emotions dictate how we react, and where our attitude becomes a lot to be desired.
But then, right when doubt sets in, God always has a way of showing or telling me how what I do matters. It always happens. And when shown or told, I realize how foolish I can be. What I continuously keep in mind is to stay the course. I seek out my mission in order to fulfill it. For me, God has me in a place where I can help others through training, mentoring, counseling, and by example. We all need to look around and make our mission of impact where we find ourselves. After all, your mission is both where God has you and where the Spirit leads you.
You never know how what you say or do can be the catalyst for someone else to be impacted in a BIG way! A recent event sent chills down my spine because of the significance of how a book I recommended changed someone’s life. It just goes to show, making an impact can be in either big or small ways – as simple as recommending a book to spending lots of time, energy, and emotional support with someone dealing with a personal crisis.
Here’s what I know: if we focus too hard, we make a dent, not a difference. When trying to impact someone’s life, we often don’t know what will be the thing to set them on a new trajectory. All we can do is show love. The Holy Spirit will work on the rest.
The ramifications are too great not to make an effort when presented with an opportunity. One impact has a huge multiplication effect. This is how eyes are opened and spirits are awakened.
When you ask yourself if you are making an impact, don’t short change yourself. But also don’t buy into the devil’s trap of contentment or self-doubt. Be there for others and seek your role in God’s Kingdom here on earth. It’s a calling, not a suggestion.